Kamisu Reina:Volume 2 Reina Kamisu
Chapter 4: Reina Kamisu
I have not seen myself in the mirror in years.
Instead of me, the mirror of my dressing table is showing something similar to me. Needless to say, this is not some mechanism that has been built into my antique dressing table, and yet my reflection is missing from the mirror I am looking at right now. The thing that appears from time to time like a visual trick is subdivided in 33 parts which makes it impossible to examine it in its entirety.
The foreign reflection resembling me smiles at me.
"It is futile to loathe me!" the girl within the mirror says with an irritatingly beautiful smile. Again: this is not me but something that visually resembles me. "For I have already been associated with you."
Why did it come to this? She has always been around indeed, but while she hovered over me like a shadow, she did not use to cling to me.
"You seem thoroughly fed up. Do you not think it is time to stop ignoring me and converse with me?" she suggests.
Spare me. Conversing with you means admitting your existence, and admitting you just once means giving in to you. I will not make the mistake of concerning myself with a delusion that has become to real, that can even be explained.
I will not admit the delusion that is you nor will I accept you.
Even if, as a matter of fact, I do not appear in the mirror.
"I may not be able to exist without you, but unlike you, I know why I came to be!"
Do I want to know? There is no need. It is easy enough to deduce the answer, as I already have.
Deduced the answer?
Aah, no, that is not right. I do not know the reason for your existence, because you do not exist to begin with.
I am a rational person who does not suffer from delusions.
"Yes, you do know—"
I do not. I do not hear anything.
"That I exist—"
I do not. I do not know anything.
"—When people look at you they see me."
I find myself in the second music room, playing a song from a movie that came on TV the other day on the piano. The students that have gathered around me let out gasps of joy.
How did I wind up exhibiting my piano skills in an open place like this, anyway?
Obviously because I was asked to.
My classmates wanted to hear me playing the piano, so I started to perform here in the second music room, showcasing the fruits of practicing at home. I originally used the practice room, but my performance became popular among the students to the point that even the teachers got wind of it and, for some reason, suggested to use this room.
Thanks to them, I am now forced to perform day in, day out. Even though I do not plan to become a pianist.
With smooth motions I move from one piano key to the next. Because I have taken lessons since I was a child, playing the piano now feels approximately as natural as writing.
Of course, I did not take lessons because I wanted to.
The music reaches my ear.
It sounds just as boring as always.
Why do they all look so captivated as if I were performing like a first class pianist when I play so poorly? There is no emotion in my music, just raw, mechanical skill. They cannot be moved by something like this. I feel irritated, as if I was watching an apathetic conductor.
After I finish my playing, the audience surrounding the piano give me their applause, some of them even with tears in their eyes. Stop that! This was just a crude performance by a student like you! Without showing a sign of my true thoughts, however, I smile at them and thank them.
"I love that movie!" says Kawai-san, who became president of the student council after me. Of course you do. It was your request, after all.
"...You do?" I smile, again without showing my true thoughts.
"Your performance is so touching, Reina-san."
"Yes, indeed. I wonder why your music turns out so different."
"You are magnificent!"
"Thank you," I say and feel the same thing as always: a one-way mirror is extending around me.
A one-way mirror. A curious mirror that lets me see everything that happens on the other side but does not let them see me.
The girls on the other side are cheerfully chatting with the mirror in front of them, and even though I do not show any reaction whatsoever, they are delighted by the reaction of whatever they see in the mirror. Girls, come to your senses! Do you not see that you are talking with a mirror? What is the point in reacting to your own reactions?
But they feign ignorance and enjoy the conversation.
Everyone except for me, who is standing inside the one-way mirror.
With an unvoiced sigh, I start playing the piano and the girls around me fall silent. I prefer them to just hold their tongues rather than get engrossed in a conversation that I cannot take part in.
As I watch my audience, who think my performance were something special, I ponder. At the end of the day, nobody is interested in me.
Nobody wants me to talk. All they want me to do is nod to them and approve of them. I am not permitted an own will.
I wear a specialized, tailor-made mask for every single one of them, and they love that.
Therefore, I cannot talk about myself.
And yet—even though I have not told them a single thing about me—they act as though they were in an intimate relationship with me.
—Tell me, what do you see in me?
It was a terrible mistake to enroll at the Junseiwa school. I feel that negative phenomenons like my fake reflection or the one-way mirror have been aggravating and getting more frequent ever since I came here.
Hm? Why did I come to this school, anyway?
This is easy to answer. Because my mother wanted it.
In the end, my own will is not to be found anywhere. None of my actions reflect my will. I only move by being pulled by someone.
I focus on playing the piano and shake off my stray thoughts.
As always, the melody sounds empty.
I finish my performance and receive a grand applause.
After being forced to play for more than a full hour, I walked home together with a few students that live in the same direction. I commute to school from home. At the Junseiwa School students are obliged to live in the dormitory if possible, but because of some serious trouble during my time in the middle school section (it should not be difficult to imagine this when considering my current situation), I was allowed to live at home when I graduated to the high school section.
However, because I had been separated from my family for three years (except for holidays, of course) the distance between us had become insurmountable. My position in our family had always been unstable, but now they completely and permanently forgot how to treat me as part of it.
They started to treat me like I were fragile.
Having sensed that, I had no other choice but to take the same attitude toward them as to my fellow students, which entailed tailoring masks and looking at my family through a one-way mirror. Only Sakairi-san, our housekeeper, did not treat me like something fragile, but it was still far from normal.
There is no haven for me anymore.
I opened the door, greeted my family, had a mostly wordless dinner and took a bath.
From the three bathrooms we have, I went to the middle-sized one, added in some bath oil and soak in the bath. Our largest bathroom is big enough to accommodate us and our housekeepers and still have space for more, but it is barely ever used by anyone. The larger the bathtub, the longer it takes to fill it with warm water, and the faster it cools down, and the more gas it takes. It is a terribly unpractical bathroom, and with it losing its novelty, its bathtub has deteriorated to a merely big hole. There are many of these useless things in this house. Apparently, the larger a house gets, the more useless things accumulate. Even though maintenance gets costlier.
While showering myself off, I shift my thinking to my future.
What might become of me after high school? Well, I will certainly enroll at a first-class university. But after that?
I would make myself unpopular if I said this aloud, but there are not many things that I cannot become. It might be out of reach for me to become a specialist in something that requires training from an early stage on, like a competitive sportsman, but I am confident that I would be admitted by any university and I am just as confident that I would be hired by any company. I might even be able to make my way into the show business and become an actress or a singer, something that everyone dreams of but gives up on.
My mask can be customized to deliver the best performance in any job, and from experience I know that it performs outstandingly well.
However, I think. What do I want to become?
This may seem like a problem that everyone has, but my question is of a different nature. I believe most people know that they would like to become, but are either too embarrassed to talk about it, have set their goal too high, or are frankly not that bent on it.
I, on the other hand, can think of absolutely nothing that I would want to become. Not in the slightest. All I ever do is standing still in a white realm without a horizon, waiting idly for something to arrive because there is nowhere to go, and simply reacting to whatever is happening before my eyes.
Yes, even though I have the sense to do anything, I cannot become anything.
Powerless. Meaningless. Worthless. Yes, I do not have anything.
Maybe I should just die, then?
I do not know, which is why I will probably not die.
Still gloomy, I leave the bathroom and go to our video room to watch a DVD. I have not decided on a certain DVD, but because my father has the habit of buying several DVDs every month despite not watching them, there are plenty of movies that I have not seen yet.
By the way, I do not study much when I am at home. Since the speed of teaching is adjusted according to the average of the class, it tends to be slow for me despite the reputation of the Junseiwa School. I repeat old knowledge and prepare for the new things in the spare time during my classes.
Efficient? Certainly. But I do not know for what sake.
When I enter the video room, I find that I am not alone.
I call his name and he turns around to me.
"Oh, it's you?" he says briefly and looks away.
I have changed into my pajamas. I am not concealing my body with a single bath towel. And yet, Ryoji-san averted his eyes in a way that I consider is unnatural for family, at least in my definition of the word "family."
But he has always been like that.
Ryoji-san is always averting his eyes from me. He only sees the parts of me that he likes to see.
When I wear my pajamas, I remind him that we are family, which is why he does not like to see me like this. He has shown signs of feeling attracted to me in a non-family manner and thus seems to have difficulty getting along with the other sex. Is he interested in me as a love interest? While I do not believe that is as simple as that, it might be something close to it. Ryoji-san is suffering from an inferiority complex that can be attributed to overestimating me by looking at me through rose-colored glasses of admiration. Most likely, he does not know the true shape of his feelings for me himself, so I do not know anything else, either.
"Want to watch something? I'm only trying to pass my time, so I can go if you want."
It does not seem like he is trying to be reserved; he really is just passing his time. He has a liking for action movies because they keep him awake and are therefore suitable as a way to pass time, which is the only meaning he sees in watching movies. Even now he is watching some Hollywood movie that is mostly known for its tremendous production costs.
"It is the same for me. Do not mind me."
"Uh-huh," he mutters without even looking at me. Not that it bothers me, but why does it not occur to him that we could also watch the movie "together"?
Slightly curious about his attitude, I decide to ask, "Ryoji-san?"
"What do you think is bothering me about you, Ryoji-san?"
Fairly surprised, he looks away from the screen and gazes at me. After pondering for a while, he replies, "Before I can answer this question, I need to think about the reason why you asked it."
"Your question makes me think that I'm less worth than you. That you are blaming me."
"However, you are able to predict my reaction and thus would not pose this question lightly. In other words, the true answer is more complicated."
Like this, he keeps complicating the intention of my question. I must commend him for his excellent imagination, but he clearly lacks the ability to tell apart right from wrong.
The answer is much simpler: Why do I have to be so polite even though we are siblings?
I suppose I am to blame for that, but you do not give me another choice because this is how you want me to treat you.
In the end, you have no clue what I want from you.
Dear brother, what do you see in me?
And this is how I spend my time, finding no rest in anyone's presence.
I enter my room and can finally be alone.
However, there is no rest even when I am alone.
The thing inside the big mirror of my dressing table is watching me.
I ignore it and quickly finish my homework. I then continue reading an interesting foreign novel in its original language, armed with an electronic dictionary on the table.
What is un avocat again? Ah, of course, a lawyer.
"You are smart. You should have noticed by now that I am only telling the truth."
...So do I hear this voice even without looking in the mirror now? I sigh and perk up my ears. But I still have my novel open. Because I have not admitted anything.
"No one is looking at you. All they see is someone else."
Someone else? Certainly, they are not looking at me, but at themselves in the one-way mirror.
"And that someone else is me."
But why should that be you?
People are not looking at me but at the one-way mirror that is surrounding me.
At the mirror.
And that mirror is showing you?
Oh, the irony—
—When I look in the mirror, all I see is you as well.
"I will now talk to myself," I say, alone with myself in my room. Of course I am talking to myself. "Mind you, this is a soliloquy. I am not talking to anyone. I do not expect an answer, and even if I feel that I heard one, I will ignore it."
The thing in the mirror that resembles me remains silent. No ... Again, there is no one here besides me.
"Yes, I do get the impression that no one is looking at me. I sometimes even feel that they see something else instead of me."
The room is dead silent.
"But that is only because I have many faces. Because I make use of more than 30 masks to enact the role of a flawless beauty. I am certainly more skilled at using masks than an ordinary person, sometimes to the point that I forget which my real face is, but ultimately everyone uses masks. In psychology, there is a concept called persona. Human beings are thought to create a personality, or a persona, specialized for socializing. I simply happen to use personae more frequently than an ordinary person."
I am able to explain why I feel that others do not seem to look at me like this. It is absurd that my masks would get out of control and get a life of their own, let alone become visible to anyone else.
Exactly. This is a satisfying explanation that is clearly correct and in line with common sense.
But there is one problem.
The fact that I explained it to myself.
Obviously, I know what I just explained. I think it is absurd to see someone else in the mirror.
And yet, I can see the girl inside the mirror.
"But you are beautiful," she says in a voice almost the same, and thus essentially different, as mine
Ironically, the more rational I get, the more I realize that she is not a mere illusion. No, am I not contradicting myself with this very train of thought?
I do not know.
"You are beautiful like me."
I do not know, but I heard her voice.
"And you are aware of your beauty."
She says something that would not even occur to me. That would not even occur to me. In other words, if she were just a delusion, she could not have said it.
In utter surprise, a question slips out of my mouth:
"What ... What are you talking about?"
No! I think, but it is already too late.
This cannot be undone.
I talked to her.
And thus—I subconsciously admitted her existence.
Her gaze pierced through the one-way mirror all the way to me.
Surprised by this now unfamiliar feeling, I found myself looking at her before I knew it.
She is not looking at me anymore, but I am looking at her and even paused putting my schoolbooks into my bag.
What was that? Did I see things?
"...Reina-san? What's wrong?" Kawai-san, who has come all the way to my classroom just to hear my performance, asks suspiciously.
"...No, never mind," I answer wearing my mask again, but it seems like Kawai-san has already realized that my surprise was a special sign.
After our short exchange, I notice that Mitsui-san has already left the room.
"Excuse me, Kawai-san, but there is something I need to take care of at home, so I would rather not play the piano today."
"Huh? Ah, yes ... of course, if you are busy."
With these words, I bow my head to her and secretly pursue Mitsui-san. She has not joined any club and does not seem to have a lot of friends, so often goes straight home. I hurry to the shoe lockers.
I found her.
While she is busy changing into her outdoor shoes, I walk up to her. Noticing that someone is approaching, she turns to me.
"Kamisu-san...? Is something wrong?"
"No, I was just in a little hurry because of a pressing matter," I explain and observe her. In an unobstrusive manner, of course.
Aah, it is as I thought.
Mitsui-san is looking at me right through the mirror. There is no doubting it.
"...Goodbye then, Kamisu-san."
I part with her in a natural manner.
It feels like it has been a long time since someone other than Sakairi-san last saw me, not "her". Mitsui-san did still project something else on me, so it is still far from sufficient, but she is definitely different from Kawai-san and the others, who are entirely blind of me.
...But why Mitsui-san?
I am not particularly intimate with her. Well, I am not intimate with anyone, but she is one of the people who barely have any contact with me. She is just a classmate.
Is the answer hidden in her nature, then? She is a very aggressive person because of her vulnerability. She believes that everyone wants to do her harm, which is why she has drawn a defense line to protect herself in the event of a real attack. But ... how is that related to the way she looks at me?
I try contemplating for a while, but I am entirely lost. There are two less leads.
Besides, is there even a point in finding out?
Perhaps there is none, but now that I have become unable to completely deny "her" existence, it strikes me as important to find a way to discern people who see "her" from those who do not.
If I do not take measures, "she" is going to take me in.
I have not admitted "her" ... I think. But ... as a matter of fact, I accidentally talked to "her". It is as clear as the day that this mistake is going to help "her" to pervade me slowly but surely.
Being taken in by "her". While I do not know if that is a good thing or not, I am neither enlightened enough nor desperate enough to willingly surrender myself to an unknown being.
I suppose I will have to talk to Mitsui-san in person...
I waited on a moment that lent itself to talk with her about it.
However—there was no indication of such a moment to come.
My momentary surprise when first taking notice of Mitsui-san's look turned against me in an unexpected form. Kawai-san, who had astutely observed my slight change, also noticed that Mitsui-san's gaze was different. That would not be an issue in and of itself, but for some reason she mistook Mitsui-san's look as one of scorn.
Because of that, Kawai-san and Mitsui-san have made enemies of each other.
It is impossible for me to disregard Kawai-san's will and become friends with Mitsui-san. As someone who exists for others, I do not have any freedom.
At any rate, it has become difficult for me to approach Mitsui-san.
What should I do? Can I even earn something by approaching her?
I do not know, but ... I feel that it would be wrong not to act when at last I have a reason to.
Therefore, I looked up her address and went there.
Although not as big as ours, the house in which Mitsui-san and her family lived was a quite magnificent brick house and was suitable for a student of the Junseiwa School.
I rang the doorbell and was answered by the lovely voice of a girl, who was probably Mitsui-san's little sister. After I told her why I was here, she briefly said, "The door is open. You may wait inside if you like," and stepped away from the intercom. She must have gone to call her big sister.
Accepting her offer, I walked to the entrance. This would not be necessary in the case of normal houses, but because there was quite a distance between the gate and the entrance, I would have otherwise made Mitsui-san unneeded work.
For a while nobody came. Considering that her sister answered the doorbell, it was possible that they had not employed any housekeepers. They did seem to have their house cleaned from time to time.
While I was gazing at the expensive-looking objects and handicrafts, Mitsui-san arrived and looked at me with blatant bafflement.
"Hello," I said as gently as possible to reduce her caution.
Apparently, my effort to get her guard down ended in a failure, but she was so kind as to take me to her room. Unlike my room, hers was only equipped with the things necessary, which was quite to my liking, and I also praised her for that. After her little sister had brought us some black tea and she had lowered her caution a little, I decided to go ahead and ask her.
"It has come to my attention that you have been watching me in a peculiar manner lately."
Much to my surprise, her expression changed abruptly. Is she aware of the fact that her look is piercing through my one-way mirror? Or is she aware that hers is different from the looks of others?
No ... I suppose not. She has practically been threatened by Kawai-san. She must think that I am blaming her. She is that kind of person.
"Ah, please excuse me. I do not mean to blame you," I assured, trying to calm her down. I also said things to the effect of not intending to attack her and staying on her side, which, for some reason, seemed to surprise her.
Is it so surprising? Even though I am just putting on masks that happen to fit the situation?
This is odd. Does that mean that she was not really looking at me, after all? If she was, then her current attitude makes no sense. Her attitude suggests that she does not know what kind of person I am and what kind of actions I take.
She is not deflected by the one-way mirror and does not see that thing that resembles me. But what if that is all there is to it?
"Ah ... that reminds me, you have not answered my question yet."
Right, what matters is not how she thinks of me but why she is looking at me in this way.
"I was wondering why you are watching me."
"T-There's not..." She pauses for a few seconds and continues. "—There's not much to it ... at least I can't put my finger on it."
She seems to be telling the truth.
"You do not not know, either ... I understand."
That means that there was no point in coming here. In that case, I have no business here anymore.
"All right, I think it is time for me to take my leave."
I stand up and see myself in the mirror.
—No, I see "her" who resembles me.
She is smiling. With a beautiful smile like mine.
—It cannot be undone.
The bitterness of biting a coffee bean spreads in my mouth. This bitterness may belong to "her" but it is something different. I don't know this. I don't understand this. I don't admit this. But I do recognize it. I am also aware of the fact that I pretend not knowing the answer. I want to keep feigning ignorance. But now that I can see "her" beautiful smile, I cannot suppress it anymore. I instinctively know what "she" is going to do ... no, what I am going to do using "her", and I also know that it is morally reprehensible. But I cannot control it. There is no one to stop me. I am "she" and "she" keeps accelerating me.
I am not interested in the individual—
—and the individual is not interested in me.
"She" is smiling. "She" is calling me.
Unable to gain anything from approaching Mitsui-san, I lost to reality.
I face my mirror. I face "her" who resembles me.
"I believe that the evil witch in Snow White lost to herself."
I start to talk to "her".
"Mirrors only reflect. If you ask it who the fairest one of all is, you will only receive the answer you believe yourself. The witch lost faith in being the fairest and thus the mirror answered Snow White. And then she tried to kill her with a poisoned apple."
"But ultimately, even if Snow White had deceased, the mirror would have never again said that the witch was the fairest. It would have continued to say different names, because the witch had admitted Snow White's beauty and with it the possibility of others being more beautiful than herself. The mirror would not have given the answer the doubtful witch sought."
"What might the point of telling me this little allegory be?"
"Mirrors only reflect."
"That is true."
"That means that you are me and I am you."
"You are stating the obvious."
"Yes, so it is impossible to escape from you."
"Yes, because you are longing for me."
"Longing for you? Even though I do not know what you are?"
"You claim not to know what I am? Even though you have a fair grasp of my nature?"
"But I have not understood you entirely. I need an explanation."
"I suppose you do," "she" smiles inside the mirror. "I am a phenomenon."
"What kind of phenomenon?"
"A phenomenon called 'Reina Kamisu.'"
"That is my name."
"Yes, it is. But what else would you call me?"
"Point taken," I smile.
"I am a phenomenon with no powers other than being visible. A phenomenon that can be given a role by naming it."
"But if you are 'visible' then you must be linked to something, right?"
"Yes, I am linked with the Form that is based on beauty."
"The theory of Forms."
"That might be a close term for it."
"Are you independent?"
"To almost no degree. I am dependent on other beings and I lack the ability to reflect and to actively update information. I do, however, have knowledge and I do obtain a consciousness when taking shape."
"The ability to update information?"
"Even I have to adapt in order to persist. For example, when I speak your language, I make use of your knowledge to transform raw information into words. Since my hosts, which are you human beings, are in permanent change, I have no other choice but to change with them."
"In other words, information is what links you with us?"
"This is not everything that it entails, but it certainly is part of it."
"It is difficult to follow you."
"As I said before, I am transforming information into language, so my words are lacking accuracy."
"It is no different for us! I also often feel restricted by the imperfection of words. But that aside ... if you are connected to us in such a way, do we also suffer from any side effects?"
"I suppose that because of my remoteness to your common world view, there is a chance that you might lose it by 'seeing' me."
"Your world view is a filter of sorts. By sending information through it, you are able to process data smoothly and without falling into confusion. Did you know that if you are born blind and have a cornea transplanted, you may not be able to see anything even though your eyes are properly functioning?"
"I think I have heard about that."
"Why is that? It is because they cannot process the information gathered by their eyes! People who have been born blind lack the practice of 'seeing' and therefore do not know how to cope with the light sent through the cornea. They cannot filter the information. As a result, they see nothing."
"In other words, by 'seeing' you we are forced to cope with the kind of information that would normally be filtered out by our subconsciousness?"
"Yes. As a result, you might fall into confusion, stand out in the world that is defined by the common world view, and mistake your selection of what information to filter out."
"Has that already happened to me?"
"This sounds synonymous to 'insane' to me."
"That is another way to put it."
"Am I insane?"
"I cannot deny that."
"Quite honest, aren't you?"
"However, you have already defined me as true."
"That alone is the truth."
"There is no such thing as universal truth, though."
"Sadly, you are right."
"Well then, let's get to the point. What role have I given to you? Why did I wish for you?"
"Do I even need to say it?"
"I suppose not. After all, you are Reina Kamisu."
"Yes, my role is—you."
"Your role is—me."
"I am the you who you believe has been lost inside others."
"Yes, you are the most perfect and beautiful and inanimate mask I have ever created."
""That is why others will see Reina Kamisu when they look in these eyes.""
"You then wished for me."
"I subconsciously wished for a perfect mask. By obtaining a new self, I wanted to lose my interest in others because they would only ever ignore me."
"Because it would make you relentless."
"Lose my interest in anyone."
"Lose your sympathy for individuals."
"Lose my soul."
"Therefore, my role is—"
"Yes, your role is to go against this world that turned me into this. To be—"
""—a tool of vengeance.""
I became aware of the being that is Reina Kamisu.
I became aware of my tool of vengeance.
And the moment I became aware, I lost my powerlessness. I was set free from the control of others.
Even better, I am now freer than anyone else and can even soar up to the skies.
I am in a position where I can easily have my will.
After all, I have become one with Reina Kamisu and can freely make use of her.
This is how I use the perfect mask that is Reina Kamisu.
Or perhaps it is how Reina Kamisu uses me.
Either way, all that is left is to head straight for my goal.
Until everything crumbles into dust.
Until I crumble into dust.
Reina Kamisu is a concept that belongs only to me. Even if the phenomenon can exist by itself now that it has received the name of Reina Kamisu, it is safe to assume that its scope is still limited to myself at this point.
However, the people around me can clearly see Reina Kamisu.
For example, if your view is obstructed by some kind of white haze, you may interpret it as a ghost or as a white cloth, or you do not even bother yourself with the question of what it is at all, but you can see it in any case.
Likewise, other people can clearly see her. The perfect mask I have obtained by losing my soul certainly exists. I may be the only one who interprets her as the phenomenon Reina Kamisu, but they can see something that is different from what I see but that is essentially the same.
For example, it might be yourselves reflected by the one-way mirror.
"I will die in a few days from now."
I say something that can be interpreted in many ways.
Which leads Ryoji-san to start puzzling over the deepest meanings of my words. All that is left for me to do is to say the things he wants me to say. I do not get an answer from him. All he can do is present his answers to Reina Kamisu.
Alas, dear brother, with so few hints you cannot get it right!
As always, Ryoji-san engages in fairly solid reasoning and drifts off from the answer more and more.
I say the phrase I prepared for him:
"Go to my room when the time comes."
The mirror is there. Reina Kamisu is there. Of course, she is only visible to me, though.
This is my way of putting a curse on him. A curse that I am afraid he is unable to lift for the time being, for—
"I will die."
—Right. Because I will die.
This will cause him to use Reina Kamisu and aggravate the curse I put on him. There is a low probability that he might notice that it was not really me who he has seen, but if that happens then so be it. It would that he earned himself the right to be released.
"—but only metaphorically."
Right, I may die but Reina Kamisu will not.
And as long as Ryoji-san's own Reina Kamisu does not die, the curse will persist.
It is a tool that is most useful in the event of controlling someone's heart.
It has a tremendous emotional impact and can even be destructive depending on how you use it.
Death is unavoidable and of equal significance to everyone.
Therefore I decided to take advantage of it.
I start to make preparations.
I start to make preparations, using my Reina Kamisu.
Step by step, my vengeance gets executed.
After school, Mitsui-san called me out. While I do not know what she needs from me, I cannot turn her request down in front of everyone, since I am using Reina Kamisu.
My assumption is that she is seeking for help after being hurt by Kawai-san.
"Is it that you want to come back to our conversation the day before yesterday?"
"...No, that's not it," she says with eyes that do not see Reina Kamisu. They see me, not Reina Kamisu.
I suddenly feel a little unsettled.
Might her missing ability to see Reina Kamisu get in the way of my plan of vengeance? Her words bear far less weight than Reina Kamisu's, so I doubt that anyone would listen to her even if she tried to stop me. If, however, there are more people like Mitsui-san who can see "me" to some degree, they might give an ear to her.
What should I do? What if Mitsui walked around spreading her suspicions?
"After all, there's no bullying or violence. I'm just being hated by everyone. Even if the situation improved superficially, the actual hostility wouldn't disappear."
"Do you think so? I am convinced that this artificial hate would disappear with time once we took care of the problem on a superficial level. After all, it is just the peer pressure that is influencing them."
I fail to come to a conclusion.
For the time being, it might be a good idea to display my influence.
"Besides—I can take care of their hostility deep down, too."
It is but the truth, and Mitsui-san is aware of that.
She is left speechless.
We arrive at the back of the gym where she wanted to take me. The secretary of the student council, Anna Fuyuki, has already been waiting here and seems to be in a state of horrible agitation. It is quite obvious what is going to happen now.
I glance over to Mitsui-san.
Fuyuki-san is not someone who would willingly confess her love, let alone have Mitsui-san, an enemy of Kawai-san's, help her arrange it. That means that Mitsui-san has coerced her into this situation.
Before I arrive at an answer, however, Fuyuki-san opens her mouth:
"Sorry for ... calling you out to such a place."
"No, I do not mind at all."
I would like to catch a glimpse of Mitsui-san's facial expression, but Reina Kamisu is not allowed to avert her eyes from the earnest girl in front of my eyes.
Is that also part of her plan? No, I doubt she is that scheming.
Fuyuki-san struggles for a long time to let out a single word, but eventually succeeds:
".........I love you."
Her words are extremely powerful. There might be no ill will in them, but they are essentially a threat. If I am basing my threat on my death, she is basing hers on her fragile and honest feelings.
They are so pure that they cannot be easily crushed.
Reina Kamisu fails to reply offhand.
"...I love you," she repeats.
Reina Kamisu manages to respond her pure feelings with a smile.
"Thank you, but I am sorry..."
And crushed them.
She crushed her pure feelings.
"...Thank you...for your time..."
With these words, Fuyuki-san disappears. The Reina Kamisu inside her should be fine, but ... it was a close call.
The total energy of emotions does not change so easily, but their direction does. Especially in cases like this.
—Yukimi Mitsui is the greater problem right now.
I look at her. Ah, as I thought.
Her gaze is piercing through Reina Kamisu and reaches me.
"—Why are you looking at me like this?"
"Well, you said that you stayed on my side, didn't you?"
"I did, yes."
"Even if I look at you in this manner?"
"You know, I noticed something when you promised to stay on my side. And just now I confirmed my assumption through a little experiment.
"Reina Kamisu, you do not have a soul."
I did not expect her to figure out that much. Most impressive.
"...No soul? What do you mean?"
I feign ignorance, however, because it might be a wild guess on her part.
I must not readily admit to it. If she has really seen through me, my fears that she might stand in the way of my plan of vengeance could turn out true.
"Oh come on ... Kamisu-san, you're just a pretty shell without any content inside. You can't react in a differentiated manner to our behavior."
Interesting. Referring to me a "shell" is quite an accurate simile. For someone who does not see my content, Reina Kamisu, I certainly must look like an empty shell.
"It's true that I forced Fuyuki-san to confess to you, but her feelings for you are without a doubt real."
"Yes, I know."
"But you shooed her away."
"Shooed her away? Indeed, I was sadly unable to give her my consent, but I think I have replied to her sincerely. Or do you think that I should have beaten around the bush and told her a sweet lie instead, Mitsui-san?"
"No, that's not what I mean."
"What do you mean, then?"
"Looks like you really don't understand. Alright, listen, Fuyuki-san was serious. Do you have the slightest qualms for turning down her honest feelings for you?"
I am perfectly aware that I crushed her pure feelings and even had difficulties doing so. However—
"On the surface, that is, right? After all, your sad expression vanished into thin air the moment she left."
—You cannot say that I have feelings of guilt?
"You only managed to bear feelings for a heartfelt confession at the moment when it occurred. The very instant you looked at me, your interest in Fuyuki-san died out!"
"You are over-interpreting things ... no?"
Wrong. It is just as she says. I can no longer explain my way out, but I must.
But I am not able to. Mitsui-san has understood me. By observing others, she has understood what Reina Kamisu is. She correctly assessed me and was convinced of her assessment when she saw my reaction to Fuyuki-san.
Driven into a corner, I make a slip of tongue.
"Or do you perhaps think that every single student at this school would obey if I told them to commit suicide?"
I accidentally tell her part of my plan.
I expected her to deny it. She could not possibly have such a fine understanding of me.
However—Mitsui-san replied without missing a beat:
I am at a loss for words.
"I don't know what you plan to do at this school—maybe nothing at all—but I just want you to know that I realized that you're not normal. You're irregular. And you're aware of that more than anyone else. Yes—"
"—You can't be human."
Reina Kamisu is a phenomenon and I am her vessel.
Neither of us is human.
The following day I learned that Fuyuki-san had cut her wrist.
Beyond doubt, that confession was the cause. Fuyuki-san is a precious sacrificial lamb of mine; if I do not take measures, she might turn unusable because she is most likely planning to dissociate herself from me as it is. Do I look for a substitute, do I give up on one sacrifice, or do I get in touch with her and bring her back in order? After some wavering, I decide for the latter.
I walked to her classroom before school started, sneaked a peek inside, and found her sitting at her desk, hanging her head. She was easy to recognize thanks to her friends surrounding her. To my relief, Kawai-san was not among them.
As I enter the room I create a stir. With widened eyes Fuyuki-san notices me and immediately looks away. I suppose this is the natural reaction in this case.
Nonetheless, I walk up to her without hesitation.
Surprised that I called her name, her eyes widen once more.
"H-How can I help you?"
"I would like to talk. Can you spare me a moment?"
Fuyuki-san nods a few times with her eyes still rounded.
"Thank you. Then ... yes, would you be so kind as to follow me to the second music room?"
She nods a few times again and follows me.
"Um ... what would you like to talk about?"
While she is waiting for me anxiously, I approach to the piano and sit down on the stool. To my chagrin, I have to admit that I have grown accustomed to this stool.
"How is your wound?" I ask with my gaze turned at her bandage, ignoring her question. I am expected to first worry about her wound.
"Ah ... I was just being stupid ... you don't need to worry about it, Reina-san."
"Please do not say that."
"No, but ... um ... it's not your fault, Reina-san..."
Oh, that is what she worried about? That suits her personality.
"Do not cut yourself anymore, all right?"
"......Yes," she nods hesitantly, which is fully understandable. Every child knows that one should not hurt oneself, and yet Fuyuki-san cut her wrist. She had to.
Fuyuki-san has been suffering enough to find herself in this situation—
—and thus longs for Reina Kamisu.
"...I have come here today, Fuyuki-san, to talk to you about yesterday."
Her face darkens as she hears me say so.
"Allow me to be direct ... Mitsui-san forced you to say it, right?"
After a few moments of hesitation, she replies, "Yes..." and adds, "but—"
"I thought so," I interrupt. I will not let her finish that sentence. "I was unable to properly handle your confession yesterday."
"Huh—?" she gasps and raises her face in surprise.
"I was unable to answer you honestly in the presence of a bystander, let alone the culprit who schemed it."
"W-What do you mean by this?"
I smile and say, "Now, please listen to my real reply: We are both girls, so I am afraid that we cannot become a couple."
"Yes ... I understand."
"However, I can accept your feelings nevertheless."
"This is quite difficult to express ... it might be more appropriate to say that I can be by your side while acknowledging your feelings for me. Going out with each other does not quite catch the nuance ... I really cannot think of an accurate term."
Fuyuki-san is left flabbergasted, but as the meaning of my words slowly gets through to her, she starts to blush.
"Are you unhappy with that?"
"N-No! By no means! I actually ... I wanted to become like this! Just ... feeling the same for each other ... is enough for me ... well, I guess ... I was dreaming of this kind of ... slightly special relationship."
"Is that so? Excellent," I comment with a smile. I can tell that she is charmed by me. "But have to warn you."
"Y-Yes ... what is it?"
"If possible, you should refrain from telling anyone about this. You understand why, right?"
"Y-Yes, of course."
"So why do we not make it our little secret?"
"—Our little secret..." she mutters with flushed cheeks and replies, "Yes!"
Our secret, yes?
Fufu, I am afraid that is not quite true.
It will be your very own secret, Fuyuki-san.
"Please take good care of Reina Kamisu."
—I will no longer be around later today.
As I explained to Mitsui-san, it is in my current power to control others. It would be child's play to get rid of Mitsui-san by taking advantage of Kawai-san.
But I did not do it.
Not because I thought it would be cruel. I do not possess human emotions anymore. As she correctly stated, I have lost interest in others.
And yet I did not do it. Even worse, I learned from Fuyuki-san that Mitsui-san was in danger and went there to intervene.
"Why ... why did you save me? I mean, I was so impudent as to say that you're 'not human' yesterday."
Why did I save her?
I wonder why?
I am not sure, but probably—I was happy.
I was happy that someone said I was "not human," that someone truly saw me.
"Did I not promise to be on your side? Besides, to be honest, I would like to avoid that cruel stuff even if I am not human," I explain my way out, because that is the answer she wanted to hear.
Aah, I am empty even in front of her. I am just a shell.
If ... If I met her a little earlier, perhaps I would have not turned into what I am now? No, I suppose there never was room for such an if scenario. I was born with this fate, floated all the way here—and will scatter.
"I'm so jealous."
I was not a little surprised to hear that.
Jealous. It is a word that I hear on a regular basis. However—Mitsui-san said so while understanding me.
"Yeah, I'm jealous. I could—do without a soul."
I finally found out. Why has Mitsui-san been able to look properly at me?
It is because to Mitsui-san, I was her Reina Kamisu.
Everyone sees Reina Kamisu through me, the ideal in the view of the observer.
Mitsui-san said she was jealous of me because I have no soul.
Right. Mitsui-san, too, sees Reina Kamisu through me. She, too, sees her ideal in me. However, I happen to be her very ideal; her Reina Kamisu is practically identical with me. She has no need to see Reina Kamisu because I am close enough.
That is why she could directly observe me.
"I want... I want to become like you, Kamisu-san."
"Do you want me to give you a hand?"
I was happy.
I felt accepted for the first time in my life.
Because of that, my facial muscles moved on their own. I have no means of knowing what my face looked like because it was an uncontrolled expression.
I am so happy, therefore let me grant your wish.
Luckily, it is in line with both my plan and the means I am going to employ.
"Oh, erasing your soul is not all that hard, really!"
Right, if Mitsui-san views me as her ideal, then she should be able to interpret a special meaning into my words.
My deep words and my death will guide her to the place she wishes to be.
"I will help you get there!"
Just like the others.
Of course, I have not the slightest idea where that will be.
I stationed Mitsui-san at the second music room where my body will pass during the fall. The only task that remains is to add the girl who has the strongest tendency of seeing Reina Kamisu to my plan.
Where might she be?
Just as I thought so—
She, Kawai-san, called my name.
Nobody is as obsessed with Reina Kamisu and cleanliness as Kawai-san. She was longing for an unstained, beautiful person, and found it in Reina Kamisu.
Ignoring the fact that a person fulfilling her requirements does not exist.
"You have come at the correct time. I was searching for you."
"Is there anything I can help you with?"
"There is something I wanted to tell you," I explain briefly. Not many words are needed anymore in her case.
"Please take good care of Reina Kamisu."
This will make sure that she will pursue Reina Kamisu for the rest of her life. While I do not know where she will find her Reina Kamisu, I have a hunch that—
—it is where I am headed now.
I go to the rooftop.
Reina Kamisu is already waiting for me when I arrive at the rooftop. She has broken free from the mirror. Well, she has always been right by my side since the moment I admitted her existence.
"Now you only need to fall down from here, is that right?"
"Yes, that will be the last step."
Fortunately, there is no one else here.
No, perhaps we are not alone. Perhaps I am subconsciously ignoring someone.
I do not mind either way as long as it does not impede my plan.
"I do not understand. How does this result in vengeance?" she asks.
"Well, I doubt that your role includes understanding my plan..."
"Would you mind disclosing some of it to me?"
"I am quite sure of this, but let me ask nonetheless. Having Kawai-san, Fuyuki-san and the others follow you into death is not what you consider your vengeance, right?"
"Exactly," I answer while searching for a place where I will fall past the window of the second music room.
"Should I think of your vengeance as something abstract?"
"Abstract...? No, I mean it quite literally. I suppose it can be considered abstract in the sense that it is hard to predict to what degree my plan will prove to be successful."
"...What is your plan, then?"
I shall answer her.
Ah, this tension in my facial muscles—I felt the same tension when talking with Mitsui-san earlier.
Oh, I remember this feeling now.
"To kill people!"
"Of course, I have no idea how successful my plan will be, but I want to kill people. I want to kill as many of them as possible. But not with ordinary means. I could only kill so many if I built a nuclear bomb. Would it not be a shame if there was no hope to kill more? If possible, I would like to wipe the entire human race from the face of the earth."
"How frightening. But how does falling down from here result in killing people?"
I finally find a good place that can be observed from the second music room. This will make sure that Mitsui-san will also have her soul erased.
"How I am going to kill? It is truly simple," I smile at Reina Kamisu. "I will use you!"
"Yes. Mind you, I am not talking about my interpretation of Reina Kamisu, but about your essence, about 'the phenomenon that can become visible.'"
"You want to use me as a weapon? Don't be silly. I have no power by myself. As you said, I am just a phenomenon that can become visible," she argues.
"That is more than enough."
"Poor thing. It seems like you have gone insane for good."
"I will not deny it. But although I may be insane, I can still think logically."
"Lunatics all say that."
I grab the fence. It seems to be stable enough to support my weight.
"What do you think will my fall from here cause?"
"...Let me think. First and foremost, you will die. After that, the people you prepared might end up committing suicide. Some kind of vicious cycle might even ensue ... but eradicating the human race is definitely impossible."
"You are right. I will die, Kawai-san and a few other people will die, and this marks the end of my preparations."
I lean against the fence and look Reina Kamisu straight in the eyes.
"This will allow me to overwrite your information."
Reina Kamisu gazes at me with utter surprise.
"Overwrite my information, you say?"
"Do you mean that you are going to redefine me as a phenomenon that kills people?"
"Even in the unlikely event that you succeeded in overwriting my information, what you plan to do would be impossible. Again, my sole power lies in 'becoming visible.' You could just as well tell a human to fly!"
"You do not need any new powers. You are fully capable of killing people as you are now."
"What was that...?"
"I just need to pin you!"
"At the moment, your shape is so vague that people refer to you by various names like god, angel, or whatnot. I will thus pin you to a single shape, by adding a new condition required to see you."
"I will give you the fixed name Reina Kamisu."
"I do not understand. How does that give me the power to kill?"
"Do you not get my point? If you receive the name Reina Kamisu, you will no longer be just a vague concept but a 'person.'"
"That might be true, but what of it?"
"Your nature entails taking on the role your observer needs the most, right? What if you take on that role as a 'person'? Well, you will become the most important person to that observer. However, ultimately you are nothing more than a phenomenon, and once your observer realizes that, he will despair."
"And that is enough to kill people?"
"At least in the case of those who are desperate enough to seek you. Besides, do not forget that you will become Reina Kamisu. Do you know what this implicates?"
"...No, I don't."
"Nomen est omen. The name is a sign. For example, it is not possible to give you a boy's name because you are the Idea of Female Beauty. Likewise, it is not possible to give you the name of an object like an air conditioner, goggles or a toilet seat.
"However, it is possible to give you the name Reina Kamisu, and the name will bind you to a human appearance.
"And that is not all; there is more to this name. Originally, you are a phenomenon that only has a vague appearance, but you lose this vagueness by receiving the name Reina Kamisu. Your appearance will be reminiscent of me, and so will your nature. Right—"
While laughing I say:
"—the very name of Reina Kamisu will kill people."
"Fairy tales. As a matter of fact, you have not killed a single—" she pauses. "Wait—is that why you made those 'preparations'?"
"Exactly. I will now lead Kawai-san and the others to death. While I cannot predict how many of them will die, my plan is to make them die. To murder them. To attach an image to the name Reina Kamisu."
Reina Kamisu is at a loss for words. However, she quickly recovers and points out, "This is a well-thought-out delusion, but I am afraid that the premise is not established. How do you prove that it is even possible to overwrite my information?"
"Sadly, I have no proof."
"As I thought."
"But it makes sense, no? At the very least, the people I 'prepared' will see you. As Reina Kamisu, of course. Other students of this school or acquaintances of mine might also become able to see you and call you by my name. If so many people start to refer to you as Reina Kamisu, the odds are not too bad for your information to be changed the way I aspire to, right?"
"...I suppose the chances are not zero."
"That is enough for me to take the risk. I will sacrifice my own blood and that of several young girls and pray to create this curse. If that fails, then so be it."
With these words, I climb on the fence and stand on top of it.
I look down.
All I can see is the vicinity of the Junseiwa School, but that is just fine. Ultimately, my own world was no bigger than this, and yet I loathe the entire world. Unreasonable? Why? Isn't that human nature? Isn't it human nature to judge the whole by a part? The world is not kind to me. It is trying to dispose of me. It is ignoring me. That is why I will scatter, cursing anything and everything that belongs to this scenery.
"...You are a horrible person for dragging me into this."
I hear Reina Kamisu's voice behind me.
"Of course. You also belong to the things that I loathe."
"You are also a target of my vengeance, dear Reina Kamisu."
"This makes no sense. You said yourself that I am you and you are me."
"And that is exactly why—"
I bite my lips.
"—I hate you."
"I wanted to see myself in the mirror. You were uncalled-for. I wanted to be normal like everyone else. But—I could not! Because of you! Because of me!"
I am surprised by myself.
My voice is rough with anger? I am irritated? At whom? At Reina Kamisu?
...No. At myself.
I have not lost my feelings and I am actually turning them against myself.
—I decide not to think about the meaning of this.
"I am going to take revenge on you. You will continue to exist for all time as a curse named Reina Kamisu, as a being that torments people."
"...Is that really what you wanted to accomplish?"
I unwittingly turn around to her.
"What do you mean...?"
"You could not see yourself in the mirror, right? You were just as blind to yourself as everyone else, right? Then how on earth would you be able to know what you want?"
"I don't know," I say bluntly and look ahead again, at the world I despise. "All I can do is—loathe this world that shows no understanding for me."
In response, Reina Kamisu whispers:
"If only you realized that everyone has to cope with the mundane feeling of not being understood in some way..."
I do not want to hear that nonsense.
I covered my ears.
Everything tilts and tilts and tilts—
The despicable sky is colored dark red.
You do not change a bit even now.
I may be able to soar up to you.
But I am damned to fall.
I cannot reach so far.
I can only reach the bottom.
Oh twilit sky!
Just like the sun that dyes you red every passing day,
I shall continue to dye you red with the blood I spill—
So at least—
—Do not forget me.
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